A Quick Guide To Microsoft Dynamics 365 Non-Production Environments

Non-Production Environments for Dynamics 365

If you are using one of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer engagement apps, your organisation is also able to create a non-production (sandbox) cloud environment.

Previously, organisations only received entitlement to deploy a single non-production instance but following to a recent licensing change, administrators are now able to create additional sandboxes subject to available storage capacity. 

For new subscriptions activated after 1 April 2019, additional production or sandbox instances can be created provided at least 1 GB of Common Data Service for Apps Database Capacity is available. Each additional Dynamics environment created will consume at least 1 GB of Database Capacity.

Existing Dynamics 365 customers that are billed under the Cloud Solution Provider program (CSP) or Web Direct will be able to begin using the new model when their current Dynamics agreement expires.  

A Dynamics 365 sandbox can be added for customers subscribed with:

  • Dynamics 365 for Sales (Enterprise)
  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
  • Dynamics 365 for Field Service
  • Dynamics 365 for Project Service
  • Customer Engagement Plan
  • Dynamics 365 for Marketing (standalone licence)

The Sandbox apps you can deploy are dependent on the licenses you've purchased. For example, if your organisation is only licenced with Sales Enterprise, a Customer Service non-production environment cannot be activated.

7 Reasons to Use Dynamics 365 Non-Production Environments

  1. Running separately from production, a sandbox instance is the location to safely develop and test app changes and new solutions with low risk.
  2. With Dynamics 365 moving to a continual deployment cycle and two major releases each year, a sandbox is increasingly important to evaluate new functions, learn about the new Unified Client Interface, run code checks and test updates before they are applied to a live environment.
  3. Sandboxes make a great environment for training.  Users can edit, add or delete any data during these sessions without fear of impacting your live system.
  4. Sandboxes offer admin controls which aren't available in a production instance including the capability to reset an instance to delete and re-provision. By restoring default settings, new projects can be started and personal data will be wiped. As such, this would provide a clean slate to prepare for a Dynamics 365 update. Also, by resetting a sandbox it frees up storage space as the total cloud storage limit for Dynamics is consumed between both production and sandbox environments.
  5. Enabling Administrative Mode for sandboxes will only allows users with System Admin and System Customizer security roles to sign in and make changes. As a result, this avoids changes impacting, or being impacted by, regular users.
  6. If you are running a Dynamics pilot, a non-production environment provides is a more durable solution compared to signing up for a 30 day trial.   
  7. Use 'Copy instance' in the Dynamics 365 admin center to quickly copy all, or just a specific part of the Dynamics 365 application and data from any live instance to a Sandbox, or vice versa to apply approved customisations.

Please get in touch if you need any assistance in configuring and customising your Dynamics 365 sandbox.

READ MORE: How to add a non-production instance to your Dynamics 365 subscription


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